Mario Lopez psyched to run the 'Rocky' steps

Mario Lopez was up at 6:30 yesterday morning to run the Art Museum steps before starting a day of interviews promoting "Extra," the celeb news show he co-hosts weekdays (7 p.m., NBC 10).

The actor, who had stayed at the Four Seasons, told us that the "Rocky" statue belongs at the top of the steps, and argued that it is most certainly art when we informed him of the battle that resulted in the bronze version of Sylvester Stallone being put on the lawn. "It's an inspirational story the city should embrace," he said.


Lopez, who returns this season as a plastic surgeon on FX's "Nip/Tuck," and next month starts another season of MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," is also at work on a children's book series, "Mud Tacos," with his sister Marissa, based on their San Diego childhood. After he did NBC 10's "10" show we caught up with Lopez yesterday over lunch at Buddakan (325 Chestnut) where he went for miso soup, sashimi, tuna tartare, edamame ravioli and hot green tea.

Lopez says he doesn't mind being called Slater, whom he played on "Saved by the Bell," because he's flattered to be remembered so well for the role which led to him having a lengthy career. He also poked fun, rightfully so, at the curly mullet he sported for years on the high-school-based show. The big football fan predicts an Eagles win Sunday, and thinks the Birds may meet his beloved Chargers you know where.